Feb. 12 marks the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth, and for the seventh consecutive year, thousands of Christian churches and non-Christian groups across the world are preparing to celebrate Evolution Weekend (formerly Evolution Sunday).
Participating congregations will address the relationship between religion and science, with many focusing this year on interfaith discussions.
One of the ongoing goals of the event-which is publicized by a group known as the Clergy Letter Project-has been to raise the bar in the discussion on this critical topic, and to show that religion and science are not adversaries-rather that they look at the natural world from quite different perspectives and ask, and answer, different but equally necessary questions.
Among the several Canadian churches that honour the event is St. Paul’s Anglican Church in Fort Garry, Man. “We want everyone to understand their environment and God’s environment,” says the Rev. Geoff Woodcroft. “The language of science and faith are distinct but complementary, and both are necessary for a complete understanding of our world and God’s world.” This year’s theme looks at how we modern humans have evolved into collectors of stuff and baggage that weighs us down.
The original impetus for the celebration came in the late 1990s with the development of the secular Darwin Day, which today has expanded into events at universities and other institutions, around the world. These include dinner parties with special recipes for such dishes as primordial soup, protests against anti-evolution school boards, workshops and symposia-even Darwinist activists dressed in ape costumes.
The Clergy Letter Project holds that religious people from diverse faith traditions around the world accept that evolution is sound science, are in harmony with modern science and embrace evolution. “For them, it does not in any way threaten, demean, or diminish their faith in God,” its manifesto reads. “In fact, for many, the wonders of science often enhance and deepen their awe and gratitude toward God.”
For more information, go to http://theclergyletterproject.org.